Dutch Food: rice porridge with brown sugar and butter

Rice porridge, or rice goo (rijstebrij) as it is sometimes called, is a traditional Dutch dessert. Rice slowly cooked in milk with some vanilla, sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with a pat of butter. Sometimes a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a handful of raisins is added. Another possibility is to serve it with a berry (or other fruit) sauce. Creamy, warm and soothing, but definitely not light. That it was filling was perfect in the old days, when people did hard physical labour, and weren’t eating much fat and sugar in the rest of the day. Nowadays, it usually is a bit too heavy. Therefore I like to serve it after a light soup on cold days (together making a good-sized meal), or I make the amount below for double the amount of people, making the portion size smaller.
Swapping some milk for cream, and adding egg yolks at the end are generally not things done in the Netherlands as far as I know, but I have seen it in foreign recipes. It makes a richer pudding, but also makes it more heavy, so I would definitely downsize the portions.
I use special dessert rice for this dish, which cooks a lot faster than standard rice, but I know that this isn’t available abroad. Back in the old days, this special rice wasn’t available either, so you can make this dish perfectly fine with standard white rice. Alternatively you could use risotto rice or sushi rice, but I’m not quite sure what the right proportions are and how long to cook it. Even with the instructions below, it can happen that your rice stays quite wet even though it is already cooked, or gets quite dry but isn’t cooked yet, because every rice is different. Luckily, soupy rice porridge is still delicious, and when it gets dry, you can add a bit more milk.
As a variation, you can pour the rice porridge in ramekins or glasses, smooth the top and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool down and firm up. These rice puddings are delicious served with a fruit compote.

Rice Porridge with Brown Sugar and Butter

Rice porridge (serves 4)
1 litre milk
200 g dessert rice
2 tsp vanilla extract
brown sugar and butter to serve

Mix the milk, rice and vanilla in a pan with a thick bottom. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the rice is soft and most of the milk is absorbed. Stir regularly to prevent catching. Serve sprinkled with the sugar and a pat of butter on top.

To make this dish with “normal” white rice, use 150 g per 1 litre milk and cook for 1 hour on very low heat.

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